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Four new faces reported for duty Saturday at the Indiana State Police Lafayette Post.
For the next 14 weeks, the men, who graduated from the 72nd Indiana State Police Recruit Academy on Dec. 21, will ride with field training officers and get acquainted with their assigned counties.
Once they graduate, each trooper has to spend at least a year on the road, Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley said. When their probationary period is completed, they can be sent to another district.
No time to wait.
That was the thought going through Canton police officer Craig Riley’s head when he saw 7-year-old Ipraisha Pleasant.
The girl had been shot twice Monday night inside a Canton home and was bleeding badly.
Another police officer, Joe Barnhouse, had arrived at the Sixth Street SW residence moments earlier and was putting pressure on Ipraisha’s chest, hoping to stop her bleeding.
“She was in trouble. We could tell she was in trouble, and there was no time to wait,” Riley said.
The officer picked up the girl and headed to his cruiser. Aultman Hospital was less than two blocks away.
Riley drove while fellow officer Chris Heslop held onto Ipraisha until they could get to the emergency room.
While you can’t miss the ominous, dark tinted windows of Narragansett’s K-9 police cruiser, you may be unaware of the unique operations that make the town’s K-9 unit of Police Officer Matthew Riley and Patrol/Narcotics K-9 Roki a perennial attraction around the state.
Riley, who has been on the force for 21 years, applied for the K-9 officer position in 2000. Since he was the only person from the department who applied, the job was his. Riley’s partner is Roki (pronounced Rocky), a German Shepherd from Czechoslovakia who came to the Narragansett police force in 2001. Arriving fully trained, Roki knows 50 commands, all in the Czech language. He’s a dual purpose dog, meaning he patrols with Riley and is proficient in tracking, building searches, evidence recovery, area searches, and handler protection. “If I’m out with [Roki], and somebody attacks me, I can pop the door on the car and he’ll come out and attack the guy,” Riley said, adding that Roki has come to his aid several times in the past.
A police dog since Oct. 2002, Roki comes to work with Riley every day, and goes home with him at night.
There was a car running on the street, the dispatcher said. Empty. No one in it.
A few weeks ago, it would have been a routine call for a police officer, a quick cruise over to see what was up, peer in the window, run the plate.
Not anymore. Not since six law-enforcement officers have been killed in the last two months. Four of the dead officers weren’t even on calls; they were minding their own business when they were gunned down. One might say executed.
So you understand why a once-routine call warranted backup. Six officers responded to a car that was just warming up — or might have been a setup.
“Officers wonder now about something like that,” said Dr. William C. Holliday, a Bellevue psychiatrist who treats that particular responding officer as well as other cops and their spouses.
“I think they are more anxious and they certainly are a lot more cautious and careful,” he said. “Some of them feel like targets. And that seems like common sense to me.”
The nonprofit refers public-safety employees, civilian staff and their family members to professionals like Holliday, as well as to those who treat drug, alcohol and domestic abuse and marital and financial problems.
In the period between January and November of this year, SafeCallNow.org made 400 referrals. But since the string of police killings started with the fatal shooting of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton on Halloween night, the nonprofit has been deluged with some 200 new referrals.
“I was a police officer for 20 years and I never imagined that I would get the kind of calls that I have been getting,” said Sean Riley, president of the organization.
He knows there will be more to come in three months, six months, or at the one-year mark of the shootings.
“Nobody’s had a chance to deal with what’s been going on in the last 60 days,” Riley said. “And we know that the impact is going to hit them; that it’s real, it’s a death, and people are gone.” Families struggle, too. “I run into wives who don’t want their husbands to leave the house,” Riley said. Holliday spoke of spouses relieved that their loved ones are plainclothes officers — and children who ask mothers and fathers to wear coats over their uniforms. Exacerbating all those feelings is the difficulty police officers typically have reaching out for help.
They worry about being stigmatized by others in the department, looking weak or unfit for duty. And family members hesitate to seek help on their behalf, particularly if the officer is the sole breadwinner.
“Do you hide it? What do you do?” Riley asked. “So we try to get people into help before it ever gets out of hand.”
Renee Maher lost her husband, Patrick, a Federal Way police officer, in 2003. Her memories are stronger than ever these days.
“It’s not something you have the option of tuning out,” she said. “It’s a life sentence.”
And while she is still privy to the feelings of some within the law-enforcement community, Maher finds the enormity of it all indescribable.
“I’m a former prosecutor. I should be good with words,” she said. “I guess it depends on who you talk to and at what time of day.”
What the public needs to remember is that law-enforcement officers love their jobs and “have service in their hearts.” And it shouldn’t take six police deaths for people to remember that “these people are our heroes,” Maher said.
“You don’t call 911 because you’ve had this great experience,” she said. “And they are not just the person writing a ticket. So maybe we should give them a little slack.”
Riley just hopes they give themselves permission to seek help with SafeCallNow.org.
“Ultimately,” he said, “you want healthy people to come to your door at night.”
LYNN – Drug dealers use air fresheners, clothes dryer sheets, even coffee grounds to mask the smell of narcotics hidden in their vehicles but the ploys rarely foil Mackie and Sjors.
The two specially-trained drug sniffing dogs work for the Essex Sheriffs Department under the supervision of Sgt. Richard Riley and his boss, Capt. Shane Ehlers.
The trio also works closely with the Lynn police who typically call on Mackie or Sjors after they pull over a driver for a motor vehicle violation and suspect drugs may be inside the vehicle. Lynn police worked with Riley and the dogs for 30 days in the summer of 2006 and made 74 mostly drug-related arrests. Drug dealers fear the canine cops enough to transport drugs in their mouths rather than hide them in their vehicles.
“We get Richie there in two minutes. Mackie would do an outside search. If he was alerted to drugs, we’d have probable cause to do a search,” said Lynn Lt. Daniel Fee.
The dogs are trained to sniff an array of narcotics including heroin, cocaine, Oxycontin as well as marijuana and ecstasy.
“The dog can do what he does because his sense of smell is a thousand times sharper than ours. There’s a lot of places to hide something in a car but he can pinpoint a ‘hide’ and get us in the general area,” Fee said.
The Lynn police kept their own canines 25 years ago but Acting Chief Kevin Coppinger said the cost of purchasing and training police dogs means it makes sense to work with Sheriff Frank Cousins’ canine team.
“Resource-wise it’s great for us and gives us more bang for the buck,” Coppinger said.
An untrained or “green” dog costs $5,000 to $7,500 even before the animal goes through 14 weeks of basic training and another five weeks of drug detection training. Mackie, a Labrador, and Sjors, a Dutch-named Belgian Malinois, train daily with Riley to keep their noses in tip-top shape.
The pair live with Riley in a kennel separated from his home. Make no mistake, these are not your average curl-up-on-the-couch and fetch-the-paper dogs.
“They are tools that have to be kept sharp. We do constant, constant maintenance,” Riley said.
Training standards and other aspects of the dogs’ police work are documented so the Sheriff’s Department and police have records to submit at drug dealers’ trials.
In addition to working with State Police and local probation officers to fight crime, the Lynn police rely on Riley, Mackie and Sjors to help out when police respond to incidents like the unruly crowd that congregated outside a Washington Street bar a week ago.
Gang members unlucky enough to meet Mackie and Sjors on the street also encounter Ehlers and his team in the Essex House of Correction in Middleton.
“It’s kind of like 360 degrees coverage in terms of reminding them we’re out there,” Coppinger said.
Policeman till death, 84
Sgt. Maj. Manuel Curry, 84, who was on the New Orleans police force for more than six decades and was believed to be the longest-serving full-time law-enforcement officer in the nation, has died.
New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Mr. Curry died Thursday at an area hospital. The cause was not released.
Research done in 2002 by the New Orleans chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police found that Mr. Curry had the longest active service career of any police officer in the country, police spokesman Bob Young said. He was still an active member at the time of his death, Young said.
Mr. Curry joined the department in 1946 and was in the city’s Sixth Police District for more than 63 years.
Riley said Mr. Curry stayed on duty during Hurricane Katrina – at 80 years old.
About 200 people tearfully gathered outside the Hollywood police station on Friday morning to honor the memory of Officer Alex Del Rio, who was killed late last year in a fiery car wreck.
In addition to Del Rio, mourners commemorated the city’s other five officers who have been killed in the line of duty over the years. They include Officer Owen Coleman, (killed Jan. 25, 1926), Officer Henry T. Minard, (Nov. 18, 1972), Officer Byron W. Riley, (Aug. 30, 1973), Officer Phillip C. Yourman, ( Aug. 30, 1973), and Officer Frankie M. Shivers, (Sept. 6, 1982).
Del Rio, 31, died Nov. 22 after his cruiser hit a tree on Sheridan Street and erupted in flames.
His mother, Miriam Fernandez, wept as a bugle player played Taps and three police helicopters flew over the service.
Police Chief Chad Wagner told attendees that the names of the six fallen officers will now be placed on a
license plate that will adorn the front of every Hollywood police vehicle.
“Every day of the year, everyone would be able to remember those officers. Their names will be riding with every officer out there on a daily basis,” said Wagner.
Effie Davis, mother of slain Officer Frankie Shivers, was also in the crowd. Shivers was gunned down in 1982 while trying to rescue a mentally ill woman from a burning car.
“I still get emotional,” said Davis. “It’s great that my baby’s life is still remembered.”
The city’s mayor and commissioners attended the service, despite strong words from the police union earlier this week that they would not be welcome if they supported outsourcing the police force. The commission is studying how much could be saved by outsourcing all of the city departments.
Only Commissioner Fran Russo, who was out of town to attend an illness in the family, did not attend.
Gov. Bob Riley joined legislators, Alabama State Troopers and Wallace Community College-Selma administrators to break ground on a new Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center on Friday.
Riley said the training for state troopers is already top notch, but the new center can help enhance an already strong program.
“This new facility will bring improved training and housing for new recruits within both the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Corrections,” Riley said. “It will provide a positive environment to mold and produce the very best state troopers and correctional officers for the state of Alabama.”
The six-building complex at WCCS will cover 100,000 square feet when completed.
“Training is key to professionalism in law enforcement,” said Department of Public Safety Director Col. J. Christopher Murphy. “Once completed this new training academy will support and enhance our commitment to providing the highest level of training for our troopers and all other DPS staff members.”
The current training center is based at Craig Field in buildings dating back to 1950 with poor heat and air conditioning and a condemned gymnasium.
“Every year I get the call that they are going to try to move the [training center] from Selma,” Sen. Hank Sanders said. “Well, with the $26 million investment I don’t think I’ll have to answer anymore calls like that.”
That investment will help not only Selma and soon-to-be officers, but also WCCS.
“We are building bridges at Wallace,” President Dr. James Mitchell said. “Now we have two more partners. Before the criminal justice program was floundering here, but not after the $26 million boost.”
Murphy earlier accompanied about 20 state legislators on a trip to Craig Field that helped stress the need for new buildings.
“[The legislators] saw the gym, the dirty water and even ate at the cafeteria,” Murphy said. “They left with a new sense of the dire situation.”
Alabama Speaker of the House Seth Hammett felt the building would strengthen the class of officers that Selma produces.
“I am happy now because the quality of the facility will equal the quality of the graduates,” he said.
The complex is set for completion Oct. 1, 2010, and will feature a fitness center, dining hall, two dormitories and two academic buildings.
Montgomery-based Seay, Seay & Litchfield architectural firm designed the building, and White-Spunner Construction Inc. of Mobile is the contractors.
Economic Development Authority Director Wayne Vardaman said the new complex would benefit Selma’s revenue.
“I’ve been hearing for seven years that the training center might be moving to Anniston or somewhere else,” he said. “This shows it is here to stay and we won’t have to worry about the issue. The building will also help us economically. The buildings will attract more people from around the state to come in and train, which means more people buying things in Selma.”
The new Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center is a result of hard work and collaboration and from that everyone will benefit.
“Gov. Riley always encourages his Cabinet to find ways to work together to get good things done for the state,” said Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen. “Under his leadership, this training academy, conceived by Col. Chris Murphy, advanced by Chancellor Bradley Byrne, and strongly supported by Sen. Hank Sanders, will make Alabama safer in the years to come.”
A local highway patrol trooper received an award for saving the life of a tow truck driver.
Joe Sharlow worked a wreck on Interstate 85 in Alamance County on August 27, 2008.
As tow truck driver Chad Riley started hooking the wrecked car to his truck, another car lost control. It hit Riley’s truck and it landed on top of him. Sharlow pulled Riley free and revived him.
A Highway Patrol Colonel says Trooper Sharlow’s service exemplifies what it means to be a State Trooper.
LAKE PLACID – Two Highlands County sheriff’s deputies returning from a false alarm call, escaped injury after a rear-end collision with each other in the 600 block of Placid Lakes Boulevard late Thursday afternoon.
Deputy Jacob Riley, followed in a cruiser by deputy Brennen Warner, were headed back from the alarm call, when an orange tabby cat ran out in front of Riley’s lead car causing the deputy to swerve and brake suddenly.
Warner’s vehicle ran into the back of Riley’s car causing about $5,000 damage to Warner’s car and $1,800 damage to Riley’s car.
The Florida Highway Patrol investigated, said sheriff’s Sgt. Sean Casey on Friday. The patrol found the rear car was following too close.
The cat did not survive the crash.